Competitive canoeing

When I canoed seven miles on the Saco River during my vacation in Maine, I ended up with a red, raw spot where I rubbed the skin off the upper part of my thumb. It’s a trophy I proudly display to prove that I did my share of the paddling. I almost didn’t go canoeing. […]

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The sounds of the loons

At night, when I pulled the covers around me to keep warm in our cabin in Maine, I heard the sad, loud sounds of the loons on the lake. “How do you describe those sounds?” I asked one morning. To answer my question, my friend Leslie pulled a bird guide from the bookshelf. The guidebook […]

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Finding and giving kindness

Boris says: “None of us ever finds enough kindness in the world, do we?” And, Theo finally realizes: “It didn’t occur to me then, though it certainly does now, that it was years since I’d roused myself from my stupor of misery and self-absorption, (that) there were a lot of small, easy, everyday kindnesses I’d […]

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Pure good or pure bad?

I just finished reading all 771 pages of Donna Tartt’s book The Goldfinch, and I’ve been thinking about something Boris said: “Maybe this is one instance where you can’t boil down to pure ‘good’ or pure ‘bad’ like you always want to do. Like, your two different piles? Bad over there, good over here? Maybe […]

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Be kind. Have fun.

We exited Interstate 20 and drove to Tyler, Texas, with a specific destination in mind—Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q. However, we weren’t the only ones who had read about “the holy smoke pantheon of Texas barbecue joints” in the August 2014 issue of Texas Highways magazine. We had to wait in line to order our barbecue […]

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Adventures at the laundromat

The repairman predicted that my washing machine would get louder and louder and would start leaking. He assured me that it wasn’t worth repairing. He was wrong. The machine worked okay for months longer than the repairman predicted and then it just died peacefully one morning when I had lots of dirty clothes to wash. […]

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Just for fun

I had a splendid evening watching the Junior Players, a group of talented high school students who work all summer to perfect their lines, perform “The Comedy of Errors” at Shakespeare Dallas. This play, you may remember, is “a farce-comedy at times bordering on slapstick…. “Shakespeare had no subtle moral, no lyrical expression of love, […]

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Spend some time outdoors

Girls who spend more time outdoors are better problem solvers, and they are more ready to seek challenges. Plus, they’re more interested in environmental stewardship. Those are the conclusions from a 2012 national study by the Girl Scout Research Institute. And, we conclude that what’s good for girls must be good for women, too. We’re […]

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The soft war on women

Gender discrimination, conclude Rosalind Barnett and Caryl Rivers, has gone underground, where it is more subtle, harder to spot and often more dangerous than the old in-your-face bias. Today, women are judged on what they have actually accomplished. But promising men, research shows, are judged on their potential. In business, the male member of a […]

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Don’t take it personally

When I was confiding to my sister-in-law Jeany about something a friend did that hurt my feelings, she reminded me of something very important. “Don’t take things personally,” she said. And, then, Jeany told me about an interesting book she re-reads periodically. It’s the The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. “Personal importance, or taking […]

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